Christmas Book List in Five Minutes

Its a little late for Christmas Wish Lists, but here’s my book list as of now:

1) Murkami, Haruki – Kafka on the Shore

2) Four Quartets – T.S. Eliot

3) I will Repay – Baronnes Orczy

4) Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel – Baronness Orczy (then I think my series will almost be complete)

5) Girlfriend in a Coma – Douglas Coupland (I just bought this myself last night – for $2!)

6) Jpod – Douglas Coupland (read the book from the library, there’s some good passages)

7) Picnic Lighning – Billy Collins

8) The Lady and the Panda

9) Book of Tea – Kakuzo

10) How I found Livingstone – Henry Morgan Stanley

11) Andrew Jackson – H.W. Brands

Those are just a few I wrote down while at work earlier this month, there’s more on the reading list, but more than what takes five minutes to write down.

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A little bit more, and then no more

Researched some, and to use “hallows” in this way does not make sense. Wikipedia does not have anything for “hallows” and dictionary.com states it “to make or set apart as holy”. From the beginning of this series the readers can see that Rowling is setting up these books as timeless tales, modern-day epics is you will, but a title such as this is still rather ridiculous. “Deathy Hallows”? What is the “Deathy Hallows”? There will be debate galore and theories for this I am sure on all the fan sites, but for this title to work it will depend on Rowling’s ability to end the series. Each book does get better, but I still have to wonder if she is at a stage to write or do something as may be hinted through what would otherwise (and looks right now) a horrible book title.

In Case You Haven't Heard

J.K. Rowling has caused a stir by revealing the title to her last book in the Harry Potter Series – an early Christmas Present of sorts

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” (click to see Boston Hearld’s article on the earth-shattering event)

Deathly Hallows? To me, it sounds rather weak for the title for a last book in a series, but then I know how hard it is to title anything you’ve written. Someone perhaps could have helped her though. And perhaps, once finally reading the book (if it ever comes out, the release date is still unannounced), it will make sense.

I do have to give her credit though for being creative in announcing it. Go to her website, click a series of Christmas objects to finally play a game of hangman to discover it. Not too shabby, but pointless to play (and the site is probably incredibly busy now) with answer now known, but go play if you need to waste a few minutes.

The Problem with Christians and Metaphors

“. . . Show, don’t tell, is the rule of cinema. Christians, however, can’t seem to resist the prospect of using film as a high-tech flannel board. The result is more akin to propaganda than art, and propaganda has a nasty habit of hardening hearts.

Though Places in the Heart is a metaphor for the kingdom of heaven, nowhere is this notion communicated overtly. It is suggested through the film’s system of metaphors and reinforced by its enigmatic ending. This is yet another reason non-Christians make the best Christian films: they understand that cinema is an art form of symbol and metaphor.

Jesus began many of his parables with the phrase, “The kingdom of God is like …” (He used this construct twelve times in the Gospel of Matthew alone.) In the book All the Parables of the Bible, Herbert Lockyer explains, “Because of His infinity, God had to condescend to those things with which man was familiar in order to convey the sublime revelation of His will.” Jesus’s parables allowed his audience to understand heavenly principles in earthly terms. He would even respond to questions with parables — instead of stating the answer outright, he would allow his audience to make the connections themselves. Jesus also knew that the things of heaven are too large to be fully grasped by the human mind. They are mysteries, in the classic sense of the word, and can only be hinted at through symbols and metaphors.

Christian filmmakers seem to dislike mystery. Rather than using Jesus’s construct, “The kingdom of God is like …,” their films often proclaim, “The kingdom of God is.” Nothing is left to the imagination. Audiences are not allowed to make their own connections; they are told what to think. In his book True Believers Don’t Ask Why, John Fischer characterizes this attitude as: “Jesus is the answer; therefore nothing can be left unanswered.” This approach, no matter how sincere, rings false to audiences and leaves them feeling manipulated. That’s why movies like Left Behind, which try to convince audiences of the truth, instead leave them tittering. Anthony Breznican of the Associated Press described it as “a weak proselytizing device masquerading as a movie.” The National Review’s Rod Dreher called it the “Gospel According to Ned Flanders.” As long as people of faith are more concerned with messages than metaphors, they are doomed to make bad films. “

A quote from this article about Christians and Film that hit a key point for Christians and the Arts (for while the article sticks within the bounds of film, this point can be stretched to all areas of art). I don’t agree with all his examples, I do think he hit a valid point. Go read the rest of it and ponder.

Great Adventurers Series

I think I shall make my own series, once I’ve read more, but here’s White Star Publishers list of Great Adventurers (books that is, not a list of people). Four is a small number, and I can think of many more, but first “Great Adventurer” would have to be defined or else those who take cruises twice a year may slip in, for while they may feel they have great adventures on these ships or ocean liners, really, are they?

On another note, White Star Publishers is an interesting, recently new, company based in Italy and has rather intriguing selection of books. They are partnered with National Geographic, if that gives any clue to what selection of books they may have. Never heard of them before until last night when I saw one of their books in the local Borders and desired it. If you live in Italy, then I am certain that this company is probably even more of a delight than here in the States, if only for their Book Club which looks amazing.

The Only Robert Frost I Actually Like and Should Be Posted on a Freezing Day

Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening

“Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep. “